How to cure cheek leukoplakia

Written by sumei fitzgerald
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How to cure cheek leukoplakia
Leukoplakia sores can lead to oral cancer. (man with hand in mouth image by millann from Fotolia.com)

Leukoplakia is a sore or lesion that develops in response to chronic irritation in the mouth. Leukoplakia normally develops on the tongue but it can appear on the insides of the cheek. Leukoplakia is sometimes found on female genitalia but the cause of this condition is unknown. The hardened, raised and thick patches may be white or grey according to the MedlinePlus. These lesions evolve into cancerous lesions about three per cent of the time, reports Tampa Ear, Nose and Throat Associates. Hairy leukoplakia is a thrushlike development that occurs most often in HIV-positive people.

Leukoplakia is often caused by dental-related irritants or smoking and tobacco use. It is common in the elderly. Removing the source of irritation is often enough to cure cheek leukoplakia.

Skill level:
Easy

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Stop smoking or using chew. Leukoplakia is also known as smoker's keratosis. Although the exact cause of leukoplakia is unknown, tobacco users are at much greater risk of developing the condition than other populations. People who hold chew in their cheeks and pipe smokers have the highest risk of developing cheek leukoplakia. Three out of four smokeless tobacco users develop cheek leukoplakia, according to Tampa Ear, Nose and Throat Associates.

    How to cure cheek leukoplakia
    Smokeless tobacco users have the highest rate of leukoplakia. (tobacco image by FJ Medrano from Fotolia.com)
  2. 2

    Stop drinking alcohol. Alcohol use is a source of chronic irritation in the mouth. A 2000 study published in the "International Journal of Cancer" found that among randomised participants in an oral cancer screening in Kerala, India, drinking alcohol was a significant independent risk factor for developing leukoplakia among nonsmokers.

    How to cure cheek leukoplakia
    Alcohol use is linked to leukoplakia. (alcoholic drink image by Horticulture from Fotolia.com)
  3. 3

    Take care of dental work. Dental irritants such as roughened teeth or dentures and rough spots on fillings and crowns were thought to contribute to leukoplakia, according to MedlinePlus and the Tampa specialists. The Mayo Clinic reports, however, that the current medical opinion is that these problems aren't behind leukoplakia. Because the jury is out, it's probably in your best interest to take care of dental irritants to help cure cheek leukoplakia.

    How to cure cheek leukoplakia
    Roughened teeth or fillings irritate the mouth lining. (dental image by Andrey Kiselev from Fotolia.com)
  4. 4

    Get tested. Your health care provider can test your lesions to see if they're cancerous. You may need surgery to remove the lesions, cancerous or otherwise. Your provider can use local anaesthesia and a cold probe, laser or scalpel to remove the lesions.

    How to cure cheek leukoplakia
    Lesions can be removed on an outpatient basis. (Zahnarztpraxis image by R.-Andreas Klein from Fotolia.com)
  5. 5

    Eat your fruits and veggies. Preliminary research suggests that Vitamins A and E may help cure cheek leukoplakia, the Tampa specialists report, but Vitamin A derivatives can cause side effects so you should only use them under the guidance of a health care provider. Beta carotene is a precursor to Vitamin A found in many fruits and vegetables and may be a safer route to resolve cheek leukoplakia. Beta carotene is found in dark yellow, orange and green fruits and vegetables.

    How to cure cheek leukoplakia
    Eat fruits and vegetables to prevent leukoplakia. (fruit and vegetables on a pile studio isolated image by dinostock from Fotolia.com)

Tips and warnings

  • Cheek leukoplakia is harmless most of the time and clears up within weeks or months once the source of irritation is gone.
  • Follow-up treatment is necessary after surgical removal of cheek leukoplakia because recurrence is common.
  • Hairy leukoplakia is often seen in HIV-positive patients, who have an increased risk of developing AIDS, reports MedlinePlus. Red lesions are called erythroplakia, a condition that often leads to cancer.
  • Antiviral medications and topical medications can reduce the appearance of hairy leukoplakia but the lesions return once treatment is stopped, the Mayo Clinic reports.

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